CANTON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus held a luncheon in Canton on Saturday to discuss new laws and priorities for African American voters.
Speakers and key attendees included four senators and four representatives from the central and delta Mississippi area. They looked back on many bills that are now law. Among the a pay increase for teachers, and House Bill 196 which allows a baby to stay in the custody of a mother who was imprisoned for 72 hours before giving birth.
Willie Simmons, the first elected African American Commissioner of Transportation also talked about moving more funds to better rural highways through predominately African American counties.
“What we consider to be the East central part of our state or rural area has not received the kind of funding that we should have received in comparison to other areas. One of the things we are doing is have $80 million that come into our system each year from the lottery we put into communities for instance like Holmes County. We have some state highways that have not received any funding in 20-30 years so we put $5 million into Holmes County,” said Simmons.
Speakers also took aim at new voting rights laws they find oppressing like the Jim Crow area in other states reminding Mississippians must stand up to any proposed laws centered at limiting voting access to minorities.